Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities: Intermarriage and Conversion from the Bible to the Talmud

By Christine E. Hayes | Go to book overview

3
The Impurity of Gentiles in Second Temple Sources

Alon (1977) maintains that the idea of a Gentile ritual impurity, either intrinsic or derived from idols and idolatry, is well attested in texts of the Second Temple period. This view is simply not correct. There is a fundamental continuity between biblical texts and Second Temple Jewish writings in the details and dynamics of the various purity systems and the place of Gentiles within them. The primary mode of impurity associated with Gentiles in texts of this period is not ritual impurity but moral impurity. However, there are important developments in these texts, including the further evolution of the concept of genealogical purity/impurity. In this chapter, I review relevant materials from a wide range of sources, with particular attention to the development of and divergence from biblical precedent.

I begin by weighing the evidence for a principle of Gentile ritual impurity in Second Temple Jewish sources cited by Alon (1977) and others. The case for a principle of Gentile ritual impurity is based on sources that describe (1) Jewish amixia, (2) Gentile desecration of sancta, and (3) the impurity of idols and idolatry. I demonstrate that none of the evidence adduced by Alon and others attests to the existence of a principle of Gentile ritual impurity in this period.

A brief consideration of the moral impurity of Gentiles follows the discussion of ritual impurity and reveals strong continuity between biblical and Second Temple sources. When we turn to genealogical purity, we see that the tension noted in chapter 2's examination of the biblical material between more and less exclusionary approaches continues in the Second Temple period. This tension comes to the fore in two primary contexts of boundary crossing: Gentile access to the sanctuary, and Gentile access to Israelite identity through intermarriage and/or conversion.

Already in biblical sources, a certain parallelism between the sanctuary and the community is established. Insofar as holiness is characteristic of the sanctuary and the community of Israel, both are off-limits to profane foreigners. It is no surprise that the Restoration leadership, attributing holiness to the entire community of Israel, sought simultaneously to purge Israel of foreign spouses and to expel foreigners from the temple precincts. Nehemiah 13:1–9 indicates that both actions derive from a single scriptural verse:

-45-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Gentile Impurities and Jewish Identities: Intermarriage and Conversion from the Bible to the Talmud
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 309

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.